When it comes to organic search engine optimization, Technical SEO is often ignored by most digital marketers.
On-page, off-page, and technical SEO (search engine optimization) are the three crucial pillars of the organic marketing strategy. But the most important in the whole process is Technical SEO.
Why Technical SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so important?
Because a website’s foundation is technical SEO. If it is not stable, there is no use of valuable content, robust keyword targeting, and other on & off-page optimization. Therefore, you must understand what is technical SEO (search engine optimization) and how to make it right. In return, your SEO efforts will generate better results.
When it comes to an understanding of the concept, it is vast. But you don’t need to have an in-depth technical knowledge of it. Grasping the basic essential knowledge will help you to fix your technical efforts and talk intelligently to your developers.
This post will help you to know about Technical SEO, why is technical SEO essential, technical SEO checklist, top technical SEO tips, and much more.
Read along to further dive deeper into the answers to all your technical SEO (search engine optimization) questions.
Understand the Concept of Technical SEO
In technical terms, Technical SEO is the process of optimizing a website for better rankings. Optimizing for crawling and indexing, helping search engines to crawl, understand, and index the website without any issue.
This optimization has nothing to do with the content or promotion of the website. The whole purpose of technical SEO is to make your website not only readable by humans but by search engines too.
As said earlier, understanding it is essential. If you want your website to rank high in SERPs, it should be structured well for both humans and crawlers.
Before answering any person’s query with websites, the search engine’s crawlers crawl the website and adds it to indexing.
Algorithms then access the database of crawled and indexed websites. With numerous ranking factors, an algorithm ranks websites that have a precise answer. In the process, even though a website has a quality answer for the query, if crawlers won’t understand it, the website won’t rank well.
There are so many things that come under technical optimization, which if taken care of, makes it easier for the search engine to understand. In return, your website and its web pages will rank better.
Technical SEO Checklist– What are the Essential Steps?
As I said, there are many optimizations which you need to look after so that search engines can rank you better every time. Search engines give more preference to websites which has better technical optimization like- secure connection, the design is responsive and loads faster, etc.
Below you will go through all the crucial factors to consider in a Technical SEO (search engine optimization), which will help to ensure that your website meets the expectation of any search engine’s algorithm.
- Find technical SEO errors& fix them.
- SSL and HTTPS Certificate
- Mobile-Friendly Design
- Accelerated Mobile Pages
- Improving Website Speed
- Getting rid of Duplicate Content
- Create your site’s road-map (XML sitemap)
- Adding Structured Data Markup on your site
- Register your Site with Webmaster Tools
1. Find Technical SEO errors & Fix them.
Before starting technical SEO on your website, the first thing you can do is find existing technical SEO errors and fix them. This is known as a Technical SEO audit.
If you know where to start, it makes the errors easier to fix. Below are some common technical SEO errors, you should be improving-
- No SSL or HTTPS Security
- XML Sitemaps not there
- Incorrect site Indexing
- Slow web-page loading
- Incorrect Canonical tags
- Content is duplicate
- Alt Tags missing
- Site not optimized for mobiles
- Structured Data not used enough
These errors only mean that search engine crawlers are not indexing your pages or don’t index the pages at all. Fixing mistakes is a must.
SSL and HTTPS Certificate
SSL or Secure Sockets Layer creates an encrypted link between a web server and the browser. When you install it on your server, your website is accessed using HTTPS.
HTTPS means that a user’s information- username, password, etc. is encrypted when transferred between a website and server. You must install the SSL certificate because Google gives more preference to a site with HTTPS than a non-HTTPS site.
If your site is already HTTPS, great, and if not then enable SSL on your server. Contact your hosting provider or ask your developers to change the server to a secured HTTPS.
Follow a migration procedure to activate SSL and set up 301 redirects from the HTTP pages to HTTPS pages. It is a safe way not to lose site rankings.
With a majority of users are from mobile and the introduction of “mobile-first algorithm” by Google, if your site is not mobile-friendly, it can’t rank well.
Induce a “responsive website design” so that it displays the site on any device format- mobile, PC, or tablet. Check your mobile-friendliness using Google’s mobile-friendly checker tool.
The mobile-friendly design will help mobile users to navigate the website and skim content on it. Configure your site to rank better.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP is Google’s new concept to load web faster on mobile devices.
The AMP version of a website uses AMP HTML, the pages of the website are stored and served to users through Google’s cache, which loads faster than mobile-friendly pages.
It is not compulsory to enable or introduce AMP on your web pages as Google states that there are no SEO benefits on it other than speed. To enable AMP, you can ask your developer to build an AMP website or install AMP plug-ins on your CMS.
Improving Website Speed
Website speed is a ranking factor. Google has always mentioned the importance of site speed for SEO and reports say that faster ranks better than slower.
Suppose your website loads longer than 3 seconds. In that case, more than 40% of users are going to turn away towards a faster website, increasing your bounce rates.
How do you improve your website speed?
As this is a technical issue, it will require technological changes on your website and its infrastructure. Well, the first thing you need to do is check your website speed. Once you’re done, do the following to make your site load faster–
- Use minimum HTTP requests, scripts, and plug-ins.
- Optimize and ensure the compressed size of your images (without losing quality).
- Make sure your server can use 64-bit OS.
- Upgrade your PHP 5.2 to PHP 7.2. It will improve the site’s speed.
- If using WordPress, upgrade any plug-ins to the latest.
- Use cache plug-in.
- Use custom-made themes rather than heavy pre-made themes.
Getting rid of Duplicate Content
Duplicate content not only confuses users but also search engine algorithms. These contents appear on multiple pages on the same domains and are used to manipulate search rankings.
If the search engine isn’t able to crawl the original version of the page, it won’t show in SERPs (search engine results page). For this, your site ranking will go down.
To fix and get rid of duplicate content-
- Use proper Rel=Canonical Tags.
- Implement correct hreflang Tags.
- Prevent your CMS (content management system) from publishing multiple versions of a page/post.
Create your site’s road-map (XML sitemap)
XML sitemaps help the search engine’s bots to crawl your website and its pages effectively. You are letting them understand what is where. It is a plus point for your site’s ranking.
Sitemaps contain information like when a page was last modified, how frequently it is updated, and the page’s a priority on your website.
You can check whether your site has XML sitemaps on it or not by entering your domain name on the URL bar with “/sitemap.xml” in the end. Sites without a sitemap will end up on the “error 404 pages”.
To optimize XML sitemaps, include only the pages that are important to your website. Update sitemap when a new page is published or ask your developer to create sitemaps. You can use tools like XML sitemaps, Screaming Frog, and Yoast SEO plug-in for WordPress.
Adding Structured Data Markup on your site
Adding the code of structured data markup to your website will help search engines understand the site’s content better. Search engines will index your site effectively. You can add snippets to your structured data; it will enhance not only the search results but also the visual appeal (information) of the site.
Users click on sites which has relevant information on them. Adding structured data markup will increase your CTR (click-through rate) and traffic. You can use the help of Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to add data markup to your CMS.
Register your Site with Webmaster Tools
Submit your site’s XML sitemap on both Google & Bing’s webmaster tools so that the crawlers can crawl better and index your site on the search engine’s results page. Also, you can fix technical errors using the webmaster tools.
Top Technical SEO Tips: Practice these to Raise Your Rankings!
You should consider Technical SEO if the ranking is your priority.
So, what can you do to raise your rankings?
Below I have mentioned some essential tips, and you can practice them for better site rankings.
- Mobile-Friendly Design. With more and more people browsing the internet using a mobile device, it is vital to make your site mobile friendly. Search engines now give preference to sites that provides a better mobile experience.
- Ensure your website loads faster. Reports say that more than 40% of users turn away from the website taking longer loading time. And if you don’t want to decrease CTR and traffic, make sure your site loads faster than 3 seconds.
You can check Improving Website Speed (above) to know how to increase website speed.
- Install SSL Certificate. Back in 2014, Google said it would give more preference to secure “HTTPS” sites than an HTTP site.
- It means HTTPS sites rank better. A secure website will establish your user’s trust. In the end, it will help your site to rank higher and ensure security.
- Fix any broken links. These links are not only bad for SEO but also harm the user’s experience on your website. A broken link can direct your audience to a site, which is not there. If the user is visiting for the first time, he/she is not likely to revisit the site.
Therefore, regularly, find and fix the broken links on your site.
- Create & Submit XML sitemap. Creating an XML sitemap is a road-map for search engine crawlers. It helps them to index your site effectively.
Once you create an XML sitemap submit it to the search engine’s (Google, Bing) webmaster tools. Doing so will have a better effect on your rankings.
- Perform On-page/Off-page Technical SEO audits (Weekly). Consistency is the key. Fix your on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO audits consistently if you want to rank higher in search results. You can take the help of tools like SEMrush, Moz, and Ahrefs to perform technical SEO audits.
Technical SEO consists of numerous consistent optimizations so that search engines can crawl and index your site without any issue.
Fixing some common errors is not the end. Frequently measure and track the performance of the fixes you did on the website. Understand what harms and helps search engines.
Once you get your technical SEO on the right track, you won’t have to deal with it again and again. I would encourage you to take technical SEO seriously. Implement the checklist and tips mentioned above; it will strengthen your site’s technical optimization.
If you want to enhance your local presence, improve traffic, conversions, and get recognized, read my Guide on Local SEO for Beginners.